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Gal Gadot’s Popularity Soars in Israel After Success of ‘Wonder Woman’

Israelis are wild about their “homegrown hero” Gal Gadot, star of the blockbuster Wonder Woman movie that opened last week, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The enthusiasm for Gadot can be seen across the country, including on a Wonder Woman billboard ad by Tel Aviv’s main highway that reads, “we love you.” Her global media appearances are reported on every day in Israel, and she is even cheered by some movie-goers whenever she appears on screen.

“It’s so cool that someone from here is succeeding and is famous overseas. Everyone in the theater was so excited,” said 20-year-old Ela Hofshi of Jerusalem, who saw the movie on opening night. “I think all the enthusiasm here is very supportive and encourages her to keep growing in the world and representing us.”

While other Israelis have previously achieved international stardom, including basketball star Omri Casspi and supermodel Bar Rafaeli, the $100 million opening of Wonder Woman last week saw Gadot’s enter “a whole new stratosphere.”

In interviews, Gadot frequently speaks of her time as a combat fitness instructor in the IDF, endearing her to fellow Israelis who view military service as a rite of passage.

“She bears the burden of being Israeli with grace and you can see that fame hasn’t changed her,” Ariel Oseran, 27, told the AP. “She represents the ‘good Israeli’ and does us a great service. When she talks about the army, it shows that serving in the military is not a bad thing. It’s something inspiring. It makes every one of our female soldiers seem like Wonder Woman.”

Gadot won the Miss Israel pageant at the age of 18 in 2004 and appeared in the Miss Universe pageant later that year. She delayed her modeling career while completing her mandatory two-year service in the military.

After spending a year in law school, Gadot was asked to audition for a James Bond movie. While she didn’t get the part, it led to her landing a role in the Fast and Furious movie franchise as Gisele Yashar, an ex-Mossad agent.

She first appeared as Wonder Woman in last year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” before getting the starring role in the Wonder Woman movie.

[Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures / YouTube ]